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How to get the best results from your plucking machine...

Chicken Plucker Blog Large

The poultry plucking machine has become a great asset to small farming businesses, and anyone raising poultry, since its invention in the 1940's. By providing people an alternative to the time consuming, monotonous and messy task of hand plucking, the machines are extremely popular and come in two different forms.

A table top plucker consists of a rotating drum covered in rubber fingers, where the bird is held against and the feathers are plucked off. This type of machine does require some skill to master and only one bird can be plucked at a time.

The most efficient plucking machine is the tub plucker which incorporates a barrel lined with rubber fingers and a spinning base. The electric motor causes the disc at the bottom of barrel to spin and pushes the birds against the rubber fingers to remove the feathers in less than 30 seconds. This type of plucker has a lot more benefits than the table top plucker.

    1. Plucks more than one bird at a time, depending on the size of your machine up to 8 birds.

    2. Easy to use.

    3. One bird is plucked in 15-30 seconds.

Dry plucking doesn't work with a tub or table top plucker, so to get the best results ensure you properly scald the birds before plucking. This softens the feathers, allowing them to be plucked faster without bruising or breaking any skin. If youíre new to automatic plucking or having trouble with your own machine then these simple steps will help you out.

In a large pot, heat clean water over a propane burner or wood fire and try aim for a temperature between 60 and 70ļC. Too hot and the water will break the skin, too cold and the water wonít soften the feathers enough.

Holding the poultry by the feet dunk the entire bird into the water, just up to the bottom of the legs, and gently shake the bird up and down for 5-6 seconds to cover all the feathers. Lift the bird out and try to pull one of the larger feathers out from the wing or tail. If the feather comes out with no resistance then the bird is completely scalded, if you feel any resistance or the feather doesn't come out then the dunking process should be repeated. Continue this until a feather can be removed with no resistance, note that larger birds or breeds with thicker feathers will need to be dunked for longer.

Here are some things to remember when plucking poultry using a tub style plucking machine:

    1. Larger birds pluck better with the feet removed and they will also take longer to pluck.

    2. Small and medium sized birds pluck best with more than one bird in the machine.

    3. If your birds are bruising during plucking you must bleed out the bird first, as bruises can only form if blood is present.

    4. Only pluck freshly slaughtered birds, trying to pluck older or frozen birds will be difficult and can damage the machine, as they are too stiff and solid to be handled by the rubber fingers.

    5. Feathers make an excellent compost ingredient, so after plucking sweep them up and add them to your compost pile.

A great guide to scalding poultry for plucking and building your own scalding machine can be found on The Deliberate Agrarian blog.

Tub style pluckers, especially the homemade Whizbang Pluckers, have really taken off in small farms across America. But if youíre not a DIY person or you need a machine thatís ready to go then our stainless steel KuKoo poultry and chicken pluckers are perfect for you.


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